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Enough is Enough: Processed Meat-Cancer Link Confirmed
May 24, 2011

Processed meat is so strongly linked with colorectal cancer that no one should ever eat it, according toa new report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The report—the most comprehensive ever conducted on colorectal cancer risk—found that this type of cancer is extremely preventable. How do you slash your risk? Say goodbye to processed meats—this includes bacon and hot dogs but also deli meats—and hello to fruits and vegetables.

The findings reaffirm the results of a landmark 2007 report by the same organizations showing “convincing” evidence that red and processed meat increased colorectal cancer risk. Findings from 10 new cohort studies were added to the 14 studies included in the 2007 report. The new report also upgrades fiber’s protective effects from “probable” to “convincing.”

The evidence provided in the 2007 report was already strong enough that we should have immediately removed all processed meats from federal nutrition programs. But the government balked at PCRM’s appeal to make this happen. With this new evidence, there is no excuse for continuing to feed children processed meats.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world. Forty-five percent of all colorectal cancer cases could be prevented if we ate more plant foods and less meat, drank less alcohol, exercised more, and maintained a healthy weight, according to the report’s authors. That’s more than 64,000 cases each year just in the United States.

If we have conclusive, convincing evidence that certain foods significantly increase the risk of developing this deadly disease, we must do all we can to make the public aware of the connection. And it should go without saying that children should never again find a hot dog or a pepperoni pizza in the school lunch line.

World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Interim Report Summary. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer. 2011.


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